“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for June 15th, 2009

Speed Of Events.

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Whatever finally happens, whether this revolt is violently suppressed or bought off, I don’t think Iran will ever be the same.

The velvet glove covering the theocratic state’s iron fist has slipped off and Iranians will try again, even if it is another 4 or 40 years. Iranians want shot of their oppressors. Good luck to them.

The speed of events and obvious strength of feeling can be seen from this YouTube video:

But if we were cynical we shouldn’t be surprised by the repression from Burma to Syria, China to Saudi Arabia when the power and prestige of a ruling elite is threatened then they will utilize the full force of the state to secure their position, and so it is in Iran.

Ultimately, Ahmadinejad and his backers are no different from other elites. They will hold onto power with the last drop of their opponents’ blood. A YouTube video of a state shooting:

Shooting at the crowd, from Channel 4

Update 2: Fiddled figures?

“Kurds for Ahmadenejad!

According to official results announced by BBC Persian, Kurdistan province has been won by Ahmadenejad. This is unprecedented in the history of the Islamic Republic. For thirty years Kurdistan has voted for the opposition candidates and the turn out is very low. This time around the turn out in this province has been extremely high. ”

The results can be downloaded here, as a PDF.

Update 3:
Raye Man Kojast? Where Is My Vote? is a useful resource.

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15/06/2009 at 23:57

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German Unions On The Anti-Israeli Boycott.

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Eric Lee pointed me to this JP article:

“It is “absurd” that trade unions are seeking to boycott Israel because the Histadrut is “building a bridge to Palestinian workers,” said Eini. He cited a 2008 agreement between the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the Histadrut in which the Israeli labor union transferred outstanding fee payments to the PFGTU.

Guy Ryder, the head of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), of which both the Histadrut and PGFTU are members, praised the agreement last August. He said, “It means that the PGFTU will be able to ensure much more effective representation for Palestinian workers, while those working for Israeli employers will also benefit.”

Eini cited a recent agreement to include 30 Palestinian workers in a construction apprenticeship program which would entail permanent jobs following completion of the training course.

The close working relationship – and friendship – between Eini and Sommer is an outgrowth of their period as public service employee union leaders. Sommer ran the postal worker’s union which was absorbed by the service employees union Verdi in 2001. He took over the reins of the 6.5 million member DGB in 2002 and ushered in a sophisticated era of modern trade unionism. Eini, who succeeded ex-Defense Minister and former Histadrut president Amir Peretz in 2006 as the head of the union, is determined to organize low-wage workers and expand the Histadrut’s membership base. “

Written by modernityblog

15/06/2009 at 23:34

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Mood Of Fear.

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The full muscle of the repressive state is being flexed in Iran, as The Times video shows.

Another YouTube video shows riot police on motorbikes attacking a peaceful demonstration.

These Iranians rightly ask, where is my vote?Iranians, where is my vote?

Update: has more coverage.

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15/06/2009 at 18:19

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Defending The SOAS Cleaners.

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I am very glad that the students at SOAS are occupying the Director’s office and bring well deserved attention to the terrible behaviour inflicted on SOAS cleaners recently. No Sweat reports:

“University cleaners who won living wage detained after dawn raid

Students and allies at the University of London’s School of School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have occupied the university today to protest against managers’ attacks on migrant workers.

Nine cleaners from the university were taken into detention after a dawn raid by immigration police on Friday.

Five have already been deported, and the others could face deportation within days. One has had a suspected heart attack and was denied access to medical assistance and even water. One was over 6 months pregnant. Many have families who have no idea of their whereabouts.

The cleaners won the London Living Wage and trade union representation after a successful “Justice for Cleaners” campaign that united workers of all backgrounds and student activists.
Activists believe the raid is managers’ “revenge” for the campaign.

Immigration officers were called in by cleaning contractor ISS, even though it has employed many of the cleaners for years. Cleaning staff were told to attend an ‘emergency staff meeting’ at 6.30am on Friday (June 12).

This was used as a false pretext to lure the cleaners into a closed space from which the immigration officers were hiding to arrest them.

More than 40 officers were dressed in full riot gear and aggressively undertook interrogations and then escorted them to the detention centre. Neither legal representation nor union support were present due to the secrecy surrounding the action. Many were unable to communicate let alone fully understand what was taking place due to the denial of interpreters.

SOAS management were complicit in the immigration raid by enabling the officers to hide in the meeting room beforehand and giving no warning to them.

The cleaners were interviewed one by one. They were allowed no legal or trade union representation, or even a translator (many are native Spanish speakers).

The cleaners are members of the Unison union at SOAS. They recently went out on strike (Thursday 28 May) to protest the sacking of cleaner and union activist Jose Stalin Bermudez.

The occupation has issued a list of demands to SOAS management:

1. We call on the directorate to request the secretary of state to immediately release the detainees and to prevent the deportation of the three cleaners who are still in detention in the UK.
2. For the directorate to release a public statement condemning what has happened to the SOAS cleaners and calling for their immediate release and return.
3. To campaign for the return of the cleaners who have already been deported.
4. To bring all contract staff in house. SOAS should not use contractors, ISS or others.
5. To keep immigration officers from entering campus under ANY circumstances or other forms of collaboration with immigration or police. Universities are for education not for state violence and oppression.
6. A year’s wage as reparations for all detained and deported staff.
7. To hold accountable SOAS managers who were complicit in facilitating the raid and detention of the cleaners, refusing to aid a sick worker and a pregnant woman.
8. To reinstate Jose Stalin Bermudez, the SOAS UNISON branch chair.
9. To respect the right to organise in Trade Unions unimpeded.
10. To provide space and resources for a public meeting to build support for the SOAS 9 and other migrants, in education and beyond, affected by immigration control and racism.
11. Amnesty for all those involved.

One of the detained cleaners today stated, “We’re honest people not animals. We are just here to earn an honest living for our families. SOAS management are being unfair.””

Update: Please send your messages of support to: Email: Blog:

Update 2:
See the Daily (Maybe) for more.

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15/06/2009 at 16:04

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Ron Paul Supporters And The Neo-Nazi Shooter.

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Adam Holland relates:

“The domain name for the racist website maintained by Holocaust Museum terrorist James von Brunn ( is registered to Steve Reimink of West Olive, Michigan (read here and here and here), the domestic partner of one of the leaders of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign in western Michigan. (Read here and here and here and here.) The first hit of a google search of the phone number registered to von Brunn’s website is the Paul campaign listing. (Read here.) The phone number listed for the website is identical to that listed on the official list of Ron Paul county coordinators. (Read here.) According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Reimink has no known ties to racist groups; however, his email address features numbers frequently used as code by neo-Nazis (read here).”

Written by modernityblog

15/06/2009 at 00:27

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